Twenty-ish years ago I was a mother to a 3 year old, a 4 year old, a 6 year old, and an 8 year old. Not only was I “mommy” to these darling-made-of-dust-angels, I was also their homeschool teacher. By God’s grace, much of these years are a distant blur, but let me just say, when I couldn’t handle some of these small but stubborn pupils in my class, they were sent to the principal’s office. Of course, the principal was none other than their no nonsense, but fun-loving daddy.
Now fast forward a very long blink to ten years later: 13, 14, 16, 18–with emphasis on the word “teen.” These four bigger and more complex earthlings entered a whole new world called public school. New challenges were met, new rules were laid down; and yes, more than my husband and I wanted, these rules were broken. Thus, consequences followed. There was even a time when Mac and I made a trip to the real principle’s office in the real high school on account of one our delightful offspring.
After writing these two paragraphs, I need a nap.
In all seriousness, as I think back on these years of my own parenting, I ask myself, “What if we didn’t spank, or use time-out, or deal appropriately with our toddlers? Or in the later years, what if we didn’t take away the phones, or car keys, or other privileges for our teenagers?” As parents, It was our sincere hope that our loving discipline would contribute to a maturing child.
Likewise for you and me, God disciplines us to mature us. We as humans innately think that our way is better than God’s choice path, so we stubbornly or defiantly (or even innocently) go for it! Thankfully, our good, good Father enters our waywardness not only to mercifully rescue us, but also to gracefully teach us.
Discipline does not feel good, but it is good. It’s never really wanted, but it’s always truly needed in order for us to grow. We WILL make mistakes, and consequences WILL follow; let’s choose to be refined by them, not buried under them. Whether we are in our toddler, teenage, or twenties concerning our faith-walk with our loving Father, let’s receive what He gives us with a teachable heart.
He says to each one of us, “You are mine; I love you, and I want to lead you into what is best for you. Sweetheart, it’s time to grow up.”
Trust His gentle love; submit to His refining hand.
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11
I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. Philippians 2:19-21
Help us to take a genuine interest in the welfare of others. Forgive us when we fill our agenda with self-interests to the point where we don't have time or energy for anything else. May we be the person that sees a need and then responds quickly to fill it. Amen.